Business school graduates were told to be active listeners and maintain a high level of integrity at their commencement celebration Thursday.
Linda Livingstone, the school’s dean, and other speakers at the ceremony urged graduates to look to role models for inspiration and guidance as they begin their careers.
Here are some highlights from the ceremony:
1. ‘Walk slowly through the halls’
Carlo Alexander Wood, a student speaker and former Student Association senator who is graduating with a degree in business administration and a minor in communication, shared a piece of advice that his middle school band director once gave him: “Walk slowly through the halls.”
“To walk slowly through the halls is to actively observe and listen to each and every one of the people around you,” he said.
He said this approach can lead graduates to build new friendships, discover big inventions or find what they are truly passionate about.
2. Look to role models
Ave Tucker, the co-founder and CEO of TM Financial Forensics, a forensic accounting company, and a member of the Board of Trustees, delivered the keynote address, encouraging graduates to use Warren Buffet and Oprah Winfrey as role models.
Tucker, who graduated from the business school in 1977, said he worked as an expert witness in cases involving both Buffet and Winfrey, giving him a unique window into the two legendary figures.
He said Buffet, a billionaire investor and philanthropist, built his career on the belief that name and reputation are the most important things that people in business posses, so business leaders should maintain a high level of integrity, treat people with respect, build a culture of good behavior and stay focused on long-term success.
He recalled asking Buffet about his views on paying taxes.
“The most important thing he said is it will help others that are less fortunate than us,” Tucker recalled Buffet responding.
Tucker said when he worked with Winfrey, a world-renowned talk show host and media tycoon, he noticed that she treated everyone in the courtroom equally and with respect. He recalled that when Winfrey listened to him, he felt like the most important person in the country.
Tucker said that while not everyone can achieve Winfrey’s level of success and stardom, all successful people find a way to treat others respectfully and fairly.
3. Build on GW’s legacy
Livingstone, the school’s dean, capped off the ceremony by remembering George Washington’s legacy and urging all graduating seniors to follow that legacy as they as they leave GW.
“I view that legacy of George Washington as a legacy of leadership, a legacy of courage and a legacy of service,” she said.
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